COUNTY LINE (KFSM) — A local high school student with special needs can't communicate or do his school work without his electronic wheelchair. When it quit working one day, his classmates made sure it got repaired right away.
“Without my chair, I can`t be independent,” Jake Shotzman said. “I can`t go anywhere on my own.”
Shotzman is a junior at County Line High School. He uses an electronic device mounted on his wheelchair to communicate. We asked Jake about his favorite hobbies and subjects in school.
“I like basketball and baseball and softball,” he said. “I like the Razorbacks too. I go to some of the games. I show lambs for FFA. I like math and science.”
Shotzman is also the manager of the basketball team.
“I take him in the locker rooms before the games,” Michael Achterberg, classmate said. “He just hangs out with the guys.”
Although his friends don't treat him any differently, Jake was born with cerebral palsy and has special needs. He's had an aid with him in class since kindergarten, and in January his mom Holly took on that role.
“Unfortunately not very long after I moved over to this position, about a week after I moved over to this position, the chair just basically quit,” she said.
His best friend Alyssa 'Aly' Hall knew how much Jake needed his chair fixed as soon as possible, so she started a GoFundMe page.
“I raised $1500 in the first two hours,” Hall said.
In less than 24 hours, they met their goal of raising $3,000.
“That just shows how much we care about Jake and how much this community loves each other,” Crystal Oudomvilay, classmate said.
So instead of going four to six weeks without his chair, Jake had it back in less than two.
“This way with his chair, he can go where he wants to go,” Holly Shotzman said. “[He can] go down the hall, or at home he can travel around, but a manual wheelchair doesn`t allow him to be that way.”
“It made me feel good,” Jake said. “I felt like people loved me. I am thankful for everyone that helped me get my chair back sooner.”